After running through various HIV experiments, scouring job boards and contacts for potential job opportunities, and taking care of Natalie, brewing beer has become a once a month occasion. Planning brews becomes all the more difficult, with some beers being planned a full season ahead of schedule.
To focus more on the process and save time within my hectic schedule, I decided to go back to extract brewing. I have only made three beers by extract but I quickly realized that with all grain brewing I could control every part of the process. As a scientist, this appealed to me. Of course, as any first homebrewer getting into this hobby would experience, my brew was less than stellar. I had no idea about the importance of fermentation temperature control and healthy yeast pitching. After several years of brewing all grain, I wanted to go back and see how an extract beer would turn out, and take advantage of the quick brewday.
I decided to brew an American IPA, which is a bit hard to do with extract. There are some common themes that extract brewers should follow to avoid the all too common “extract twang”.
- Use fresh ingredients. This is probably the most important rule. If your local homebrew store (LHBS) is not very active and does not know when they received their extract shipment, defer to ordering online. Stale and old extract produce oxidation-like off flavors and will darken the beer color.
- Do a full wort boil. Another critical step that beginning homebrewers overlook nine times of ten. A concentrated wort boil will produce more melanoidins and caramelization products in the kettle. Also, hop utilization, or the efficiency of converting hop oils to bitterness harboring compounds (iso-alpha acids) is dramatically reduced. This advice should apply to all-grain brewers as well.
- Pitch healthy yeast and active yeast. A poor fermentation, whether it is all grain or extract, will produce a sub par beer. Do a starter and when in doubt do another starter.
- Watch your fermentation temperature. Hot fermentation temperatures will favor excessive yeast growth and unwanted esters in your beer.
- Use dried malt extract (DME) instead of liquid malt extract (LME). There are some who beg to differ, but it has been known that LME produces darker worts. Also, there is a higher chance of scorching with LME possibly darkening your beer.
- Always use the lightest extract you can find. This advice is more based on attenuation. Darker extracts are less fermentable, and although they will produce a darker beer, they will finish fermentation at a higher gravity. Use steeping grains to get the color you need.
- Add most of your extract 15 minutes to the end of your boil. This is a minor rule and pertains more to keeping beers (as in an IPA) light in color. A vigorous boil will darken the wort slightly. You also get a slightly better hop utilization rate with less extract.
Onto the recipe. This IPA is unique in the sense that I am trying hop bursting for the first time. This involves adding all of hops late in the boil and hitting your target IBUs. The goal is to achieve maximum hop flavor and a smooth bitterness. The amount of hops added to the kettle in the recipe is not for the faint of heart. I calculated an extra gallon of water in my figures to compensate for the massive hop sludge that will form once everything is cooled
6.5 gallon recipe (but still getting 5 gallons):
- 8 lbs of Golden Light DME (Briess).
- Of this, only 1 lb was used at the beginning of the boil, the rest added at 20 minutes.
- 1 lb of Crystal malt (40L) – steeped in 154°F water (1 gallon) for 30 minutes then added to boil.
- 1 lb of table sugar.
- 6.0 grams of Gypsum.
- 1/2 tsp of yeast nutrient.
Glorious hop additions:
- 1.0 oz Simcoe (12.2& AA) at 15 minutes.
- 1.0 oz Summit (17.6% AA) at 15 minutes.
- 1.0 oz Simcoe (12.2& AA) at 10 minutes.
- 1.0 oz Centennial (8.8& AA) at 10 minutes.
- 1.0 oz Simcoe (12.2& AA) at 5 minutes.
- 2.2 oz Centennial (8.8& AA) at 5 minutes.
- 2.0 oz Falconer’s Flight (10.5% AA) at 0 minutes.
- 1.0 oz Amarillo Gold (8.5% AA) at 0 minutes.
- 1.0 oz Centennial (8.8& AA) at 0 minutes.
- 1.0 oz Simcoe (12.2& AA) at 0 minutes.
- 1.0 oz of whole leaf Cascade hops – dry hop.
- 1.0 oz of whole leaf Amarillo Gold – dry hop.
Wort was cooled down to pitching temperature of 65°F and oxygenated for one minute with pure oxygen. Pitched 300 billion cells of WLP 090 San Diego Super Yeast. I never tried this strain before and was curious of its ability to ferment a beer similar to the Chico ale strain but with better flocculation.
IBUs: ~ 55 (Tinseth)